The pandemic has taken so much from us over the last 31 months that acts of celebration and sharing hold an even deeper significance. Hopefully, our holiday celebrations will have a modicum of normalcy to them because our values remain unchanged.
This is the season of caring, the season of giving. We each look for ways to ease suffering and connect with our loved ones, even if we are doing it from 2,000 miles away, over a computer screen. That is one good thing that came out of the COVID19 months. Meeting technology has vastly improved.
While we care for our neighbors by donating meals and gifts and prepare the same for our families, I urge you to make those purchases from local small businesses.
Arizona’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the heartbeat of our communities. The impact of the pandemic has been particularly difficult on many of our small businesses. And still, small business owners continue to demonstrate their resilience and commitment to meet the moment before them. As the world changed, almost overnight, small business owners pivoted just as quickly to offer new modes of purchase, went virtual and looked after the well-being of their employees, customers and communities. Now more than ever, small businesses need our support as they navigate, retool and further pivot to endure through these transition months and beyond.
Celebrated each year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday is a way for us to support independently-owned businesses. When we shop small on Saturday, November 26, we are making a statement and our purchases are making a difference.
Here are five ways to thank a small business this holiday season:
- Go virtual. Small retailers have made shopping both safe and convenient through delivery and curb-side pickup. Visit the websites of your favorite small businesses to complete your purchases. The beauty of virtual is that it could be from a small business from last summer’s vacation three states away.
- Buy gift cards. These are offered by local cafes, restaurants, and breweries for take-out or to save for later use. Just like retailers, food and beverage businesses offer safe and easy online ordering and curbside pick-up.
- Support the arts. Visit the websites of your favorite local music and theatre organizations to purchase tickets to virtual concerts and performances.
- Get social (media). Share and engage with social media content from your favorite small business in order to boost their online marketing efforts. Also, be sure to leave a positive online review.
- Go local. Visit the website of local chambers of commerce to find a directory of small businesses. While there, look for how to join them for their celebration of Small Business Saturday and the holiday season.
Find more information on how to be a part of Small Business Saturday, here. Small Businesses can find more tips on how to boost holiday sales and take advantage of local business counseling, training and financing resources, here.
This holiday season, take care, stay safe and support small business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.
Robert J. Blaney is the SBA Arizona District Director
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